The message reads, in part:
“I am pleased to welcome participants and guests of this conference. I see your presence in Moscow today as evidence of the high level of significance given by the international community to seeking out optimal ways to strengthen international security as it pertains to problems concerning the spread of missile technologies.
Issues of missile defence directly affect the foundations of strategic stability, and the price of making the wrong decisions may be exceptionally high. That is why an open professional dialogue is essential for discussing in a calm, constructive atmosphere any problems that occur, and planning for ways to solve them.
In recent years, missile defence has become a more influential factor on the international agenda. At the same time, unilateral steps to deploy missile defence systems made without taking into account the overall international context and the lawful interests of other countries inevitably result in counter-measures, thereby creating conditions for a confrontation and a costly arms race.
Given the global nature of the challenges presented by missile proliferation, it is important for missile defence to correspond to projected threats and not undermine strategic stability. Every country or group of countries has the right to independently determine the most effective means of assuring security; however, this should not threaten the security of its neighbours.
I am certain that we are capable of finding a formula that will allow us to avoid splitting into ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. Proof of this lies in our experience of preparing the new START Treaty, which includes principles of parity and equal security, as well as previous agreements on anti-missile defence.
Russia is open to a dialogue. The path toward launching practical cooperation in this area lies in the creation of a clear legal framework ensuring security and stability, but first and foremost in receiving guarantees that US and NATO missile defence system is not directed against Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces.
The development of the situation concerning missile defence is an issue that does not affect only Russia and the United States. In this regard, it is symbolic that Moscow is receiving representatives from such a wide range of states. I expect that the upcoming discussions will allow everyone to better understand the positions and concerns of the different parties, which is particularly important in preventing a negative course of events.
I wish conference participants effective work and success in resolving the challenge of strengthening security and trust in the field of missile defence.”
The Missile Defence Factor in Establishing New Security Environment international conference, organised by the Russian Federation’s Defence Ministry, is being held in Moscow on May 3 and 4, 2012. Its participants include over 200 military officials, specialists and experts from 50 nations.